Athletic trainers gathered in June, 2016, for the annual National Athletic Trainers’ Association 67th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in Baltimore, MD. The day before the Symposia began, hundreds of attendees, including Dr. Kristen Schellhase, program director for the UCF Athletic Training Program, traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in NATA Capitol Hill Day. Athletic trainers from across the nation met with senate and house representatives to urge their support for the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S.689/H.R. 921) and the Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights (H.RES.112/S. RES 83).
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act clarifies medical liability rules for athletic trainers and other sports medicine personnel who provide medical services across state lines. The Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights outlines 10 ways that secondary schools can improve the safety of athletic participation. This includes, but is not limited to, the right of student-athletes to be coached by individuals who are well-trained in sport-specific safety and their right to have injuries assessed by qualified sports medicine professionals.
Every athletic trainer had at least three appointments with senators and house representatives from their home state. “It was a very interesting and rewarding experience to be able to advocate on behalf of my profession. Capitol Hill itself is amazing, and communicating our needs to senate and house staffers was a great civics lesson” said Schellhase. After the visit we were informed that 14 more co-sponsors signed on to the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act and it passed unanimously at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting on June 13, 2016! Now the bill heads to the House of Representatives, and if approved, the U.S. Senate and ultimately the President’s desk.